Revised innocent spouse form now available

The Internal Revenue Service has announced a redesigned Form 8857, Request for Innocent Spouse Relief, that will help reduce follow-up questions and reduce the burden on taxpayers.

The form will ask more questions initially, but collecting critical information early in the process will mean faster processing of the request. Previously, Form 12510, Questionnaire for the Requesting Spouse, was separate from Form 8857. The redesign will combine and streamline the two forms. The redesigned form will be easier to understand and complete and will help educate taxpayers about the process.

The new design will eliminate an estimated 30,000 follow-up letters annually. This will result in reduced burden, quicker responses to taxpayers and less cost to the government. The revisions were based on suggestions from an IRS process improvement team led by the Office of Taxpayer Burden Reduction.

When a taxpayer files a joint return, both spouses are jointly and individually responsible for the tax. Innocent Spouse relief provides an opportunity for a spouse to be relieved from the joint debt under certain circumstances. If a taxpayer believes that only his or her spouse or former spouse should be responsible for the tax, the taxpayer can request relief from the tax liability.

You can find additional information on the IRS web site under Tax Information for Innocent Spouses.

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